Will the Levy Report bring about a fundamental change in the government's settlement policy? Many in the Right urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to adopt the report's recommendation on legalizing illegal West Bank outposts without haste but a top legalist warned of the international ramifications.
The committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmond Levy, submitted its report in June, but its official findings were only made public on Monday.
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The panel ruled that the State must devise ways to legalize contested settlement and outposts in the West Bank and ease land acquisition and zoning protocols for Jews residing in the area.
The committee's findings stand to significantly change the legal reality in the West Bank, especially when compared to the 2005 Sasson Report on construction in the West Bank, which deemed 120 outposts as illegal.
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"I was very surprised," Attorney Talia Sasson, who penned the 2005 report, told Ynet. "How can this report, which is supposed to reflect the current situation, fail to represent the situation that has been upheld by the High Court of Justice for the past 45 years?"
The report further states that fostering Israeli settlement in the West Bank is not in violation of international law, but according to Sasson, "In 2005, the ICC ruled that all Israeli settlements in the area were illegal.
"This isn’t a question of politics. This was a court ruling and the report should have reflected that, regardless of who is heading the committee or what the panel's political views are," she said.
While Netanyahu is likely to ask the Ministerial Committee on Settlements to review the committee's recommendations prior to any decision on the matter, many in the government, however, welcomed the report's findings.
Committee member and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan urged Netanyahu to call an urgent session of the Settlements Committee in order to "formulate a policy that will remove the uncertainty which is clouding the lives of thousands of families."
Erdan pledged to push for findings' implementation as soon as possible.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz echoed the sentiment, saying that the Levy Report "seek to see historical justice served for thousands of families in Judea and Samaria, who have been wronged for years.
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, who is also a member for the Settlement Committee said that the government should "treat the Levy Report as its new creed and not deviate from it one iota.
"The Sasson Report was very political – as far as she was concerned thriving communities built with the State's sponsorship were illegal outposts. The Zionist Movement is about building – not tearing down."
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) called the Levy Report "One of the most worthy and just reports ever penned… It aims to right the historical wrong introduced by the Sasson Report.
"This is a test for Netanyahu – he has to approve this report in the next committee and cabinet meetings."
Itamar Fleishman contributed to the report
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